Women's Volleyball Bests No. 25 Tufts, 3-1, For Second Win Over Nationally-Ranked Opponent This Week
Springfield, Mass. - September 23, 2021 - For the second time in three nights, the Springfield College women's volleyball team defeated a nationally-ranked team as the Pride toppled No. 25 Tufts in four sets on Thursday night in Blake Arena. Springfield prevailed by the scores of 25-23, 24-26, 26-24, 25-13.
The Jumbos, who were ranked 25th in the country in this week's AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll, slipped to 6-2, while Springfield, who was receiving votes in the national poll, remained unbeaten at 11-0. Earlier this week, Springfield knocked off No. 20 Babson in four sets for their first win over a nationally-ranked opponent this season.
For the second-straight match, first-year Natalie Billet (Commack, N.Y.) posted a match-high 16 kills and added 11 digs, four aces, and three blocks. Camryn Bancroft (Eastport, N.Y.) turned in 16 kills and four blocks of her own while hitting .419 and fellow middle Kylie Wixted (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) totaled nine kills and five blocks. Claire Dorr (Massapequa, N.Y.) was tremendous defensively as she notched a career-best 25 digs, and Sara Labadorf (Huntersville, N.C.) ran the Pride's offense with 42 assists.
Tufts hit .110 in the match as Ariel Zedric and Maddie Yu combined for 41 assists. Stephanie Lee picked up a team-best 15 digs, while Cate Desler registered 14 kills and 14 digs, and Jennifer Ryan put away 13 kills.
The visitors called for an early timeout after Billet ripped a ball down the line in transition to cap off a long rally as Springfield gained a 14-8 lead in the first. After a Wixted kill would put the Pride in front 17-11, the Jumbos would use a 5-1 burst to pull within 18-16. Tufts would get as close as 23-22 after their third ace of the frame, but Springfield would earn the 25-23 win after Wixted terminated a kill off the block.
Neither team hit above .100 in the second set, as the frame featured 15 ties. Facing a 16-12 deficit, Springfield went on a 7-1 burst, highlighted by a pair of blocks from Wixted and Billet, to regain a 19-17 lead and forced Tufts into a timeout. The teams would trade points until the last tie at 24 before a Tufts kill from Cora Cunningham and an ace off the tape by Yu evened the match at a set apiece.
The Pride called for a timeout trailing 11-5 in the third, but Billet sidedout with a kill and then ripped back-to-back aces to give the Pride back some momentum. The hosts would take their first lead of the set at 19-18 on an ace by Labadorf and later earn set point when Bancroft and Labadorf closed for a block at 24-22. Tufts would battle back to make it a 24-all contest, only to have a service error and Bancroft's fifth kill of the set complete the 26-24 win. Springfield hit .364 in the set and totaled 16 kills as a team.
Springfield stormed out to an 8-3 lead in the fourth on a block from Wixted and Labadorf and never looked back as it coasted to a 25-13 win. Seven different members of Springfield's squad registered kills in the set and Billet ended the match with the Pride's seventh ace of the evening for the 25-13 triumph.
Springfield will continue play on Saturday when it travels to Boston to take on Emerson in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest starting at 1 pm.
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